Extraordinary Potential

Where does the poop go on a plane?

*  *  7  *  *

Apophis tugged at his collar as the masses shuffled onto the plane, every one decked in grays and browns. He looked around at the other seated passengers who were dressed in bright reds, blues, yellows, and greens and were avoiding eye contact with the newcomers at all costs.

Blech,” said the passenger seated next to Apophis. “Ords make me sick, right?”

Apophis chuckled nervously. “Yeah. Right.” He quickly adjusted the sleeves of his yellow tunic.

“Sorry,” said the passenger sarcastically, “Non-POEPs. Damned political correctness’ll be the end of our society. Well, either that’re them.” He shot the last of the oncoming passengers a disgusted look. “Personally, I think we should just call them what they are. They’re all just . . .”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the flight attendant over the intercom. “Please take your seats as we prepare for take-off.”

“Course, with that one,” the passenger said pointing directly at the gray-clad flight attendant, “I’d make an exception for, oh, six minutes or so. Am I right?” He grinned at Apophis expectantly.

Apophis chuckled politely and pulled out a bottle of pills.

“What you got there?”

“Just . . . just for the nerves,” said Apophis.

“‘Fraid of flyin’, eh? I get that. Guess that means you’re no floater?”

Apophis shook his head.

“Yeah, I’m a brick myself,” the passenger said, flexing his unnaturally large biceps to emphasize his point.

“We would like to remind all of our POEP passengers,” said the flight attendant, “that the use of abilities is strictly prohibited for the duration of the flight. Thank you.” After a quick demonstration of how a seat belt works, what to do if masks fall from the ceiling, and proper procedures in the event that someone’s abilities malfunction, the roared down the runway and took off into the skies.

 “So,” said the man who now seemed quite confident he was Apophis’s new best friend, “what’s your shtick? I know you’re no floater and you’re clearly not a brick. So what’re you? A stool? Squat? A stinker?”

“I’m a load,” Apophis blurted.

“Hey, my aunt’s a load!” The man stuck out his hand. “Put’re there.” The two shook hands. “I’m Ekkeko, fourth-generation POEP maternal, sixth-gen paternal.”

“Apophis,” he muttered.

Ekkeko looked at him expectantly, waiting for the rest of the introduction.

“Oh . . . uh . . . second-gen. Both sides.”

“So you guys are newbies!” Ekkeko was excited. “Welcome to the tribe, brother.”

To Apophis’s great but temporary relief, a commotion sounded from the back of the plane that drew all attention away from him. A non-POEP was marching down the aisle toward the front, shoving flight attendants out of the way as he went. Ekkeko, who seemed more than ready to take advantage of the opportunity at hand, stood in the non-POEP’s path, flexing his biceps.

“Now, now, little ord. What you think you’re doin’?”

The non-POEP seemed unfazed as he continue his march right up to Apophis’s row.

“Stand down, little shite, or I’ll make you,” said Ekkeko as he pounded his fists together.

The non-POEP took no notice of him. Apophis had his full attention. “What the hell do you think you’re doing up here, Jake? Huh? You think you’re better than the rest of us, now?”

“Who the heck is Jake? That’s my new friend Apophis, and you can’t talk to him like that.” Ekkeko pressed a single finger against the non-POEP’s chest sending him flying back ten feet.

Apophis just watched in disbelief while a group of flight attendants congregated to decide on what to do.

The non-POEP, however, seemed quite confident of what he was supposed to do. From under his jacket, he pulled out a small black box with a timer on it. “You should’ve known this would happen, Jake. Once upon a time, you knew what it meant to be a non-POEP. Now you’ll learn it again. I’m takin’ us all down and ridding this world of just a few more of you elitist assholes.”

Ekkeko smirked. “Please. That toy ain’t nothin’. Apophis, take it out.”

“I can’t,” Apophis muttered.

“What d’you mean you can’t? You’re a load. That’s day one. Take that thing out!”

“I can’t,” Apophis said more fervently.

“Why the hell not?” Ekkeko shouted.

Apophis was suddenly filled with a blinding rage. “Because I’m not a load! I’m not a POEP! I’m an ord like him, alright?”

“Hey,” said one of the POEP passengers. “I recognize you! You were on the news yesterday!”

“What is going on?” Ekkeko screamed, spittle flying off his lips.

Apophis took a deep breath. “I am the new official non-POEP liaison to the Chief Person of Extraordinary Potential.”

Ekkeko’s face sunk in disgust. “You work for that new ord-lovin’ C. POEP?” Then the real news finally sunk in. Ekkeko’s eyes widened. “You’re a damned ord?”

Apophis sat his gaze firmly. “Yes on both counts. I am a non-POEP and as part of the C. POEP’s staff, you will treat me with respect.”

Ekkeko stared for a long moment before walking over to the non-POEP holding the ticking box and taking the device from him. “I get onto a plane expecting a nice little flight with a nice little conversation with someone Extraordinary, like me.” He placed the device firmly between his hands. “But you ain’t Extraordinary. You’re just a Person of Ordinary Potential. Hell, you’re as ordinary as they come.” He crushed the device into powder and turned to one of the flight attendants. “Excuse me, miss. I’d like a new seat.

“I ain’t sittin’ next to POOP like him.”

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