Kurt felt good and cool and simple in maple tree shade as the grass drooped whichever way the gentle breeze willed it too. His once blond dreadlocks were fading to silver. His arms and legs had only a little more girth than bone, resembling chopsticks with pink skin hanging off of them. And the whites of his eyes were as blond as his hair used to be, but only with thin, thread-like veins of red resting in their corners. Next to him, was a cooler full of iced beer. “Did anyone ever tell you teenaged adolescent pukes about the Slick?” He said to the three neighborhood boys. “Of course you haven’t, you kids got no sense of culture. No sense of tradition.”
Rob opened the cooler and passed a beer to his two friends, Bill and Jason who were each sitting on their skateboards. Their elbows sat on top of scuffed up knees. Rob preferred to stand.
“This was back in the 60s and the 70s. It wasn’t like the X-men nowadays. Back then, comics meant something. They had something to say. Nowadays, you crack open a comic, and there ain’t hardly any words. Most of the characters ain’t worth a shit either. Who can really relate to Captain America. No soul. Flat. You know that he’s gonna save the world and he always saves the world. Boring.”
“I don’t know. The new Avengers movie was pretty awesome,” Bill retorted.
“Yah, I’m going to see it again next weekend,” Jason eagerly added.
“I’ll wait for it to come out on video,” said Kurt.
“Uh, you mean DVD,” corrected Jason.
“Yah, sure. Whatever,” he answered, putting his hand in the cooler. The ice was getting watery. The beer was running low too. Pretty soon, he thought, he’d have to go back in the house for some more. His small, yellow house with chipped paint. “You kids want to know who deserves to have a movie made about them?”
“The Slick, that’s who.”
“Who the fuck’s that?” said Rob.
“Yah. Who the fuck’s that?”
“Jason, shut the fuck up.”
“The Slick appeared in a couple of issues of X-men back in the late 60s. I think Stan Lee was doing the writing then.”
The kids just stood there and listened. They had heard Stan Lee’s name before, but couldn’t quite place it. None of them cared to admit that fact. Rob let out a large burp.
“He had the power to shoot K-Y Jelly out of his fists kinda like the way the Silver Surfer could make cosmic energy shoot out of his hands,” Kurt continued, “and he could make himself real slippery so if anybody ever grabbed him or had him in a headlock, he could slide right of it with no problem. And if somebody tried to shoot him, the bullets just slid right off him. Now you tell me, is that cool or is that cool?”
“What kind of super power is that?” asked Rob suspiciously. And for a few seconds, all that was heard was the sound of prepubescent boys sipping beer. The old man shot a half-inebriated glare at Rob.
“For starters, it’s the kind of power that makes it easy to jack off, which I’m pretty sure would be useful to you,” returned the old hippie. Jason and Bill laughed. Rob couldn’t think of anything clever to say, so he said ‘fuck you’ instead.
“Yah, yah, yah. Well anyhow, the storyline wasn’t anything too creative. Basically, Magneto and his army of mutants had taken over the world, and enslaved the humans. It was up to the X-men to save the day… you know. Cyclops would try to pump up the other X-men and say in a really pompous way, ‘Show no mercy X-men, for there are beings in there that would feast on the human soul itself,’ and all the other X-men went for it—all except Slick. Slick said, ‘What’s the point? If they want to run the world so damn bad, then let them. They can’t make the world any worse for us than the humans who’re always trying to put us in cages.’ And Cyclops would say something like ‘Because it’s the right thing to do.’”
“So what happened next?” asked Rob.
“Well, the X-men listened to Cyclops, and they defeated Magneto and his minions and put the humans back in charge. And out of gratitude, the humans kept persecuting them.”
“That sounds pretty lame,” said Rob as he was taking the last gulp of beer. Jason and Bill agreed that that story totally sucked.
“Well, that’s the world for you,” answered the old man.
“What happened to the Slick after that?” asked Bill.
“After that, the Slick was never seen in the pages of X-men. But he did make an appearance in the Fantastic Four. It was the one in which they were confronted with the planet-eating giant, Galactus. Mr. Fantastic placated Galactus by offering him a gift of the Slick and his powers of lubrication. And he hasn’t made another appearance since.”
“No way Mr. Fantastic would ever do that,” Bill pointed out.
“No, Mr. Fantastic would never do anything like that to somebody against their will, but in this case the Slick volunteered himself.”
“That doesn’t sound like something he’d do,” said Rob.
“Yeah. It’s pretty out of character for him, I gotta admit,” said Kurt, opening a new can of beer.
“That’s pretty messed up.”
“Well, I guess you have to look at it from Galactus’s point of view… after all, it must get pretty lonesome in space.”
* Originally published online in Zygote In My Coffee #140, January 2013.