THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 8, 1994
Yesterday’s food fight had the cafeteria staff on edge, they walked between the rows of tables with steely-eyed vigilance. The Magnificent Seven were at their usual spot. Warren, Rich and Drew were having one of their usual arguments. “Look,” Warren said, “I’m not denying that Tolkien did some great stuff I’m just saying that the Dragonlance series is better.”
Drew shook her head, “While Tolkien may be somewhat responsible for the popularity of fantasy- it has nothing to do with the quality of his stuff. It’s the simple fact he got there first. Wiess and Hickman took what he started and improved on it.”
Rich looked up from his paperback, “Hello people. Tolkien didn’t start anything. Ever heard of Edmund Spencer? Lord Dunsany? William Shakespeare?”
Warren’s jaw dropped, “You... didn’t mention Michael Moorcock.”
“I know. He didn’t start the fantasy genre. He just perfected it. He improved on the ideas that came before him.”
Drew snorted, “That is like saying that food tastes better after it has been regurgitated.”
“Hey!” Adelphos dropped his chicken salad on white bread, “Do you mind?”
“Sorry,” she blushed making the birthmark on her right cheek all the more evident.
He shook his finger at her with mock severity “Getting so a man can’t eat a damn sandwich around here.”
“Sheesh. I said I was sorry.”
Someone from one of the middle tables tossed a half-eaten apple in a high arc. Before it could bounce off the side of the trash can and hit the floor the apple thrower was surrounded by stern-faced teachers and nuns.
Greg laughed a little “Another one bites the dust.”
“Hm?” Tristam looked up from his leftover pizza, “What?”
“I said you’re a little preoccupied today. Is everything all right?”
“Lot on my mind,” he glanced at Monique. What the Hell was she doing with Bobby Hilton? They were acting awfully chummy.
“What would you do if you had super powers?”
Greg laughed nervously, “What?”
“Honestly. What if you could do anything?”
“This is the kind of question that occupies your precious free time?”
“Yes. Now what would you do if you had super powers? What if no one could stop you?”
Yusuf piped up, “I wouldn’t go wearing a cape in public that’s for sure.”
“He’s right.” Adelphos nodded, “The cape is passe.”
“What kind of powers?” Greg asked.
“Maybe you could be like Warren and have the power to make deli trays disappear,” Rich snorted.
Warren shook his head sadly “Et tu Dickhead?”
“Let’s say standard Superman powers.” Tristam said, “What would you do? What wouldn’t you do?”
Drew smiled, “You could fight crime. You could end war, feed the hungry, stop plane crashes.”
Adelphos nodded “See through girls’ clothes from miles away with telescopic x-ray vision.”
Yusuf gasped “I would never leave the house.”
“So,” Greg shook his head, “I should put you two down for evil then?”
“That kind of behavior is more of a Chaotic Neutral” Rich corrected.
Tristam stole another glance at Monique, “What would you do Greg?”
Greg adjusted his glasses, “I’m not much into super heroes.”