Java From Hell-Coffee Enhances Super Powers

Today's coffee only makes you feel like a superhero. Coffee of the future will give you super powers.

I should’ve seen it coming when I first saw it. When I saw my guy pal Bob Bloch- flying. Literally!


I found that a particular affront, considering that, underneath my modest disguise of a human being like you and everyone else on this planet, I am, in fact (cue the echo chamber):

MUSCLE GIRL, THE MOST POWERFUL PREPUBESCENT FEMALE IN THE UNIVERSE!

(Cough, cough.)

And, as such, I am the only being capable of actually flying in my small but picturesque hometown of Bleakly Corners, Manitoba, Canada.

At least, I thought so.

That was, until I saw, in the guise of my secret “human” identity, Gerda “couldn’t punch herself out of a wet paper sack” Munsinger, my aforementioned confederate and confidant as high as a kite- in more ways than one.

But it wasn’t what you’re thinking. The chances of us getting coke, heroin, or hash in a town this small, even with us being plunked on the shores of Lake Winnipeg as we are, are slim to none. Consequently, the hardest drugs we can get exposed to here are alcohol and caffeine. As politically impotent pre-teens, I and my peers are not allowed to consume alcohol by the perennially drunken city fathers, and are warned often about the supposedly damaging effects of consuming caffeinated beverages, particularly the condescending belief that it will “rot” our teeth- and our brains. Huh?

Unfortunately, it seemed like Bob had got himself a taste of a particularly potent caffeinated drink, ‘cause he looked totally buzzed, even from the height he was sailing at from my particularly earth-bound vantage point.

If I was Muscle Girl at that moment, I would’ve flown up there and slapped him solid to get him back to consciousness (gently, of course.) But I was Gerda then, so I had to play it (relatively) nicer, owing that that’s the rep she has and MG sure doesn’t.

“Bob!” I said, hands on hips. “What are you doing?”

He babbled a bit in a way that even my advanced intellect couldn’t penetrate. So I decided on another approach.

“Get down here!” I ordered. “NOW!”

I put a little bit of Muscle Girl sternness into the words so he’d know I meant business, even though I used my more girlish “Gerda” voice. It gave it the motherly “order” flare I wanted, and he descended to Earth, where he belongs.

“What the h….what is wrong with you?” I said, almost breaking my taboo on swearing. (As Gerda, of course.) “Don’t you know even know where you are? Or what you’re doing?”

He again started babbling incoherently, in a pace intensified by the java he’d clearly consumed that I smelt on his breath, which included not a small bit of a particularly strong kind of espresso I’d never smelt before. And I’ve been around, even though I’m “supposedly” a “little kid”!

I eventually could stand no more of his fast-talking blather, forgot myself for a minute, and slammed a super-powered fist into his solar plexus, knocking him to the ground on his knees.

“TALK SLOWLY, DAMN IT!” I growled in my Muscle Girl voice.

“What?” he said, confused.

“I mean,” I said, nervously at first, trying not to blow my cover as Gerda, “can you please explain what you weredoing?”

“I’ll try,” he said. My punch had sobered him up, so he could explain things a bit more clearly. Which they needed to be done.

“The last thing I remember,” he said, “was that, after we got off school, I got approached by somebody who gave me a coupon for a free cup of coffee at Ahab’s….”

“I see,” I said. “So you went down the road to Winnipeg and got one….”

“Not in Winnipeg,” he said. “Right here.”

I raised my eyebrow suspiciously.

“Robert,” I said, sternly, “you know d…..very well that there isn’t a single Ahab’s in Bleakly Corners. We are too smalla town for an international chain like them to care about us- even remotely. None of them do. All our businesses arelocal. We don’t have a single Ahab’s in town. So don’t b…..lie to me!”

“It’s there,” he insisted. “It just opened today.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll believe you- for now. But you have to tell me why you were flying just now!”

“Was I FLYING?” he said, with genuine shock in his voice.

“You were,” I said. “And levitating. And doing the odd backflip now and then. Muscle Girl is going to be really madwhen she….”

He didn’t let me finish. For Bob, the thought of him even remotely flying, even in Muscle Girl’s capable hands, is enough to start him vomiting. So I wasn’t surprised when he gallantly turned away from me and upchucked whatever he’d been drinking into the ground where we stood. Then he turned back to me, green as a lizard’s gills.

“Take me home, Gerda,” he implored me. “I don’t feel so good. I feel ROTTEN!”

“I gotcha, chum,” I assured him, steadying him with my arm. “Let me take care of this.”

Which I meant.

Chapter 1

I should’ve seen it coming when I first saw it. When I saw my guy pal Bob Bloch- flying. Literally!

I found that a particular affront, considering that, underneath my modest disguise of a human being like you and everyone else on this planet, I am, in fact (cue the echo chamber):

MUSCLE GIRL, THE MOST POWERFUL PREPUBESCENT FEMALE IN THE UNIVERSE!

(Cough, cough.)

And, as such, I am the only being capable of actually flying in my small but picturesque hometown of Bleakly Corners, Manitoba, Canada.

At least, I thought so.

That was, until I saw, in the guise of my secret “human” identity, Gerda “couldn’t punch herself out of a wet paper sack” Munsinger, my aforementioned confederate and confidant as high as a kite- in more ways than one.

But it wasn’t what you’re thinking. The chances of us getting coke, heroin, or hash in a town this small, even with us being plunked on the shores of Lake Winnipeg as we are, are slim to none. Consequently, the hardest drugs we can get exposed to here are alcohol and caffeine. As politically impotent pre-teens, I and my peers are not allowed to consume alcohol by the perennially drunken city fathers, and are warned often about the supposedly damaging effects of consuming caffeinated beverages, particularly the condescending belief that it will “rot” our teeth- and our brains. Huh?

Unfortunately, it seemed like Bob had got himself a taste of a particularly potent caffeinated drink, ‘cause he looked totally buzzed, even from the height he was sailing at from my particularly earth-bound vantage point.

If I was Muscle Girl at that moment, I would’ve flown up there and slapped him solid to get him back to consciousness (gently, of course.) But I was Gerda then, so I had to play it (relatively) nicer, owing that that’s the rep she has and MG sure doesn’t.

“Bob!” I said, hands on hips. “What are you doing?”

He babbled a bit in a way that even my advanced intellect couldn’t penetrate. So I decided on another approach.

“Get down here!” I ordered. “NOW!”

I put a little bit of Muscle Girl sternness into the words so he’d know I meant business, even though I used my more girlish “Gerda” voice. It gave it the motherly “order” flare I wanted, and he descended to Earth, where he belongs.

“What the h….what is wrong with you?” I said, almost breaking my taboo on swearing. (As Gerda, of course.) “Don’t you know even know where you are? Or what you’re doing?”

He again started babbling incoherently, in a pace intensified by the java he’d clearly consumed that I smelt on his breath, which included not a small bit of a particularly strong kind of espresso I’d never smelt before. And I’ve been around, even though I’m “supposedly” a “little kid”!

I eventually could stand no more of his fast-talking blather, forgot myself for a minute, and slammed a super-powered fist into his solar plexus, knocking him to the ground on his knees.

“TALK SLOWLY, DAMN IT!” I growled in my Muscle Girl voice.

“What?” he said, confused.

“I mean,” I said, nervously at first, trying not to blow my cover as Gerda, “can you please explain what you weredoing?”

“I’ll try,” he said. My punch had sobered him up, so he could explain things a bit more clearly. Which they needed to be done.

“The last thing I remember,” he said, “was that, after we got off school, I got approached by somebody who gave me a coupon for a free cup of coffee at Ahab’s….”

“I see,” I said. “So you went down the road to Winnipeg and got one….”

“Not in Winnipeg,” he said. “Right here.”

I raised my eyebrow suspiciously.

“Robert,” I said, sternly, “you know d…..very well that there isn’t a single Ahab’s in Bleakly Corners. We are too smalla town for an international chain like them to care about us- even remotely. None of them do. All our businesses arelocal. We don’t have a single Ahab’s in town. So don’t b…..lie to me!”

“It’s there,” he insisted. “It just opened today.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll believe you- for now. But you have to tell me why you were flying just now!”

“Was I FLYING?” he said, with genuine shock in his voice.

“You were,” I said. “And levitating. And doing the odd backflip now and then. Muscle Girl is going to be really madwhen she….”

He didn’t let me finish. For Bob, the thought of him even remotely flying, even in Muscle Girl’s capable hands, is enough to start him vomiting. So I wasn’t surprised when he gallantly turned away from me and upchucked whatever he’d been drinking into the ground where we stood. Then he turned back to me, green as a lizard’s gills.

“Take me home, Gerda,” he implored me. “I don’t feel so good. I feel ROTTEN!”

“I gotcha, chum,” I assured him, steadying him with my arm. “Let me take care of this.”

Which I meant.

Chapter 2

I guided Bob home without further incident- save for him puking a couple more times!- and into his bed. I insisted on getting the address of the new “Ahab’s” from him so I could “complain” about him getting sick on their “coffee” on his behalf. But what I was really going to do, as Muscle Girl, was level the place to the ground so it couldn’t do any more damage!

So it was off home for a quick costume change. I discarded the sweater and skirt I wore as Gerda in favor of the tights, cape, monogrammed shirt, underpants and boots I wore as Muscle Girl, and I was off to the races.

Me being me, and Bleakly Corners being as small as it is, it wasn’t too long before I located the new “Ahab’s” that supposedly was in town. As you can probably guess, it was not one of the genuine articles. I did not see tons of people milling around, drinking or waiting for their fancy, overpriced cups of Joe. Nor was there any sign of the cursing, bearded, harpoon-throwing sailor who served as their logo. The only sign of the actual existence of the name and ID of the chain was a piece of paper placed in the window with the name on it. I recognized the handwriting on the paper immediately.

“PANTIES!” I shouted.

Now, don’t misunderstand that last part. That’s the name of one of my arch-nemeses, a sticky fingered girl gangster fourteen years of age, who was, at the time, on her way to becoming an Al Capone-style crime boss in my hometown. We’re only a handful of years apart- I’m in elementary school, and she would be a high school freshman if she was actually matriculating. But that’s a hell of a big difference when you’re a kid, and since she’s older, she could find ways to really hurt me, even though I’m “invulnerable”, that a lot of my peers would find inconceivable. That made her even more dangerous than even some of my “adult” opponents.

Pamela Rowland, to give her her right name, got tagged “Panties” when she was starting school, owing to the fact that she wore skirts that allowed her fellow students to see her undergarments and legs clear through on a sunny day. The nickname stuck, and she embraced it as she got older, tougher and meaner. She was from a rough-and-tumble Irish family, and lived in the war zone that is the North End of Winnipeg, so you can do the math. She got suspended and then expelled from school, first for roughing up a boy so bad that he actually died in the hospital, and then stabbing another girl in the neck with her trusty switch during a fight. Afterwards, it was the JD’s live for her. In juvie, she gathered up some girls and the first of many boy “molls” for her gang, and they broke out. Since Bleakly Corners is such a small dot on the map, they quickly made their presence known here, and had a real hold on things around here. Until then, anyway.

I could immediately pick up the scent of their cigarettes and coffee, and heard their raucous, profane laughter shake the walls, so I knew I was in the right place. Not wanting to give myself away right away, which is hard in the kind of get-up I wear, I moved as slowly as I could down to the basement.

When I got to the far corner of the darkened room, I noticed a small pile of burlap sacks in the corner- the kind that coffee beans are usually shipped in from Colombia and the other places they come from. Naturally, I used the x-ray function of my peepers to check what they said. I was right about them being sacks of coffee beans. The label said:

“G.K. CHESTERTON COFFEE, LLC”

But before I could check the geographic origination of the beans, I heard footsteps and a voice coming towards me.

“Who the hell’s there?” the cigarette deepened but still feminine voice of Ms. Rowland demanded. “Get out of there- or we’ll kick you out!”

I made myself known by flying out into the open. Panties had her black hair cut in a bob, and was wearing a blue jean jacket, black slacks and brown shoes. She was accompanied by her two closest colleagues among her gang: Big Bird McGurk, her red-haired, enormously tall and strong enforcer, and Dutchy Cruller, her blonde, fat, and food-addicted best pal from way back when. Big Bird and Dutchy shared Panties’ sadistic streak, and the three of them were brutal on the streets together. Were it not for my super-powers, even I couldn’t fight them fair and square together- and, as it turned out, even my powers couldn’t help me today.

“Well,” Panties glared at me. “I thought you’d show up to try to stop me, you dumb kid!”

“Age ain’t nothing but a number, PAMELA!” I shot back. I knew she’d get mad at me for calling her by her right name, but I wasn’t scared of her, and this was the easiest way to let her know that.

She still got mad at me, though.

“YOU LITTLE FUCK!” she shouted at me. She would have ripped into me- or tried to, anyway- had Big Bird and Dutchy not blocked her path.

“Hang on, boss!” said the redheaded giantess. “We gotta let her know the plan before we kill her!”

“Yeah!” added Dutchy, whose weighty body was threatening to bust out of her blue sweater and skirt. “We shouldtell her about it first….”

“Tell me about what?” I demanded.

“How we’re gonna kick your ass, is what!” said Panties, slapping a fist on a palm.

“And how are you going to do that?” I asked, rhetorically. “You forget that….”

“I ain’t forgot nothin’!” responded Panties. “Not when it comes to you, ya runt! You been flauntin’ them powers of yours around me like ya own this town or somethin’. You sayin’ ya do good for the world and all that. Well, listen here, punk! We’re just as powerful as you now, and if you try gettin’ in our way now, we’ll BREAK you!”

“And how,” I scoffed, “was that accomplished?”

“That coffee you was lookin’ at!” said Big Bird, crossing her huge arms over her mighty chest.

“Yeah,” said a male voice in the back. “They really did a number on my….”

“SHUT UP, YOU!” shouted Panties. Then she mumbled: “Goddamn boys. Always making trouble for me!”

“We’re getting off topic here, Panties,” I interrupted. “Unless that coffee has something to do with you being a bigger SLUT than you usually are…”

“You’re gonna fucking GET it in a minute, Blondie!” Panties shot back. “Just wait ‘til I…..”

“Now, Panties,” I said, condescendingly, “you know perfectly well that, as a super-powered alien being….”

“….who dresses like a WHORE!” Dutchy cut in.

“…my strength….” I continued while fixing a brief, murderous glare at Dutchy, “is proportionately greater than any mortal being on Earth, including you and your whole entire mob of cretins and JDs! Therefore, for you to assume that you can defeat me in combat is…..”

KAPOWWW!!!

Before I knew it, I had been dealt a staggering blow, even greater than something I could have delivered myself, which knocked me clear to the ground. And it was PANTIES who had delivered the blow! HOW?

“What the hell…..?” I exclaimed, stunned and shocked.

“Toleja I could beat ya!” Panties said. “The thing is, MG, that that coffee we scored to set up this little coffee stand for the rubberneckers turned out not to be from Earth!”

“How…how did you….?” I said.

“That ain’t important. The important thing is, it’s alien coffee. When you brew it, and you drink it, you get alien……stuff inside of you, and you can do whatever them aliens do. Including you, ya freak. When we brewed the coffee, and served it up to the kids in town, they got to doing the same things you do. Flyin’ and liftin’ stuff and junk. ‘Course, it was only temporary, but we got the message. So Bird and Dutch and I, we brewed up several pots of that coffee and drunk us each more than a few cups of it. The more you drink, y’see, the more the powers last, and the more the powers last, the more they grow on ya!”

“I….don’t believe you….” I groaned lamely as I tried to get to my feet.

“Haw haw haw!” Big Bird chortled. “She don’t believe ya, Panties!”

“Then let’s make her believe us!” Panties snapped. “GET HER!”

Before I knew it, the three of them had jumped on me, punching, kicking, gouging my eyes, pulling my hair, ripping out my fingernails, and doing a lot of other bad things to me. And the blows actually injured and weakened me, unlike my usual invulnerable state, since the trio of thugs had somehow become even more powerful physically than I was. We superheroes can’t easily defend ourselves when outnumbered by stronger enemies, just like anyone else in that situation.

Ultimately, I used what strength I had left to free myself from their grasps, and dashed with my super-speed outside, to my enemies’ vulgar catcalls. Then I jumped and flew into the sky, and outside of Earth’s orbit. For good reason.

I needed help.

Chapter 3

Like many superheroes, I belong to a combination club, team and benevolent union that helps me when I’m in trouble, like I was then, and whom I help in the same way when they need it. This group- the Intergalactic League of Girls With Guns (not my choice for a name, but I was outvoted)- is an all-female superhero organization dedicated to keeping the peace in the universe however we can, be it trying to talk somebody out of a war or punching him in the face in order to do it. And it usually is a “him”, although not always, as was the case now.

And so, I flew up to the satellite orbiting the Earth which served as the ILGWG’s headquarters, subjected myself to the laser-scanner ID which serves as our security system, and entered the central hallway of the building.

There, I found my fellow members around the meeting table serving as the living room’s centerpiece. Power Bunny, in her white-and-blue tank top and skirt, trying to straighten her big, pink-furred ears; Cerberus, the Mightiest Puppy in the Universe, attentively listening to every little noise in the room with her big ears; Candy Girl, with a cell phone stuck to her ear, as if she were her mild-mannered, teenage secret identity and not the purple-caped and masked heroic self she was at that moment; and The Brat, the cute, blonde-haired, blue sweater and white skirt wearing pre-school age girl, who is my only true contemporary in the prepubescent girl superhero game. All of them looked at my disfigured visage as I entered, and all conversation they had been engaged in abruptly ended. Candy even went so far as to turn off and put away her phone!

“My God, Gerda!” said Power Bunny. (We know each other’s secret identities, so we can use our real names amongst ourselves without fear.) “What happened to you?”

“I got roughed up,” I said.

“Not enough information,” said Candy.

“Yeah,” added The Brat. “How? And why?”

“Not to mention what with?” added Cerberus, pulling her T shirt back over her navel.

So I told them. What choice did I have?

When I was done, there was silence in the room again. Despite our physical and mental abilities, we seemed to be in a quandary as to how to stop this java from hell from making us chumps, not just on Earth but all over theuniverse. What to do?

Then it started to come together, like it usually does with us most of the time.

“Wait a minute,” said The Brat. “What did you say that the name of the company on those coffee sacks was?”

“G.K. Chesterton Coffee, LLC,” I said. “But I didn’t get the address….”

“CHESTERTON?” Power Bunny bellowed.

“OW!” Cerberus yodeled. “Quit yelling in my ear!”

“Sorry,” said Power Bunny. “But I know that company. I had to liberate their grossly underpaid farm workers on Venus one time.”

“That’s nothing,” Cerberus said. “Those bastards tried to use my fellow puppies as guinea pigs for their crap. Not onmy watch, pal!”

“They did a deal with my high school,” said Candy Girl, suddenly remembering something. “They put coffee machines in the whole place and got everybody buzzed, just like what Gerda was saying was happening in Bleakly Corners there. Of course, they wouldn’t share the profits with the school, which was supposed to be the point, so I suited up and beat ‘em up to get ‘em gone….”

“On my home planet,” interjected The Brat, “Chesterton enslaved my race to harvest their crops, because the soil was fertile enough to allow them to make double their usual profits. That was why I had to escape to Earth to fight their kind of injustice there.”

“So what does all of this have to do with me being beaten up by Panties?” I asked.

“Everything!” said Cerberus. “We all have bones to pick with Chesterton, Gerda. For damn good reasons! Now youhave one, too.”

“Chesterton’s being trying to stock its coffee at Ahab’s for years,” added Power Bunny. “They try to drop sacks of their beans in with those of the usual suppliers, but they usually get caught. Your “pals” must have gotten a couple of the discards by chance. Ahab’s doesn’t want to do business with Chesterton because of their duplicitous business methods. Not to mention the whacko side effects you get when you actually drink their Mississippi mud. If you can stand it, that is.”

“Side effects?” I asked. “You mean- the powers?”

“Not just powers, Gerda,” said Candy. “You drink as much of it as you say those gangster types had, you get powers, all right. But afterwards, after about six hours or so, you brains get fried.”

“What?” I said.

“Yeah,” said The Brat. “Total meltdown. Little brain farts first, then the orifice shuts down entirely!”

“Then we gotta get down to Bleakly Corners!” I said, striking the table. “Not that I care anything about the health of Panties Rowland, but we gotta stop other folks down there from getting toasted, too!”

The others murmured agreement, and we were soon on our way to Earth.

Chapter 4

We made our way to town, where I pointed out the offending edifice where I had gotten my ass handed to me earlier. Not this time.

We smashed up the phony Ahab’s front and everything related to it first. Then we found what was left of the stash of Chesterton coffee beans and destroyed them, either by stomping them into minute shards or throwing them as far away from Earth as I could. Candy called the head offices of Chesterton on her phone and committed a profanity-laden tirade to their answering machine about what unethical assholes they were. The final act of ourattack was Cerberus smashing a giant espresso machine into a million bits with an explosive karate kick, and then burying each of the bits in seconds after that.

And what of Panties Rowland, you ask?

Well, as Candy had predicted, the overexposure to the java from hell had done its work. Whereas only hours earlier they had been more powerful than yours truly, Panties, Big Bird and Dutchy were now lying inert on the basement floor, gibbering like idiots with their brains totally shot. (Not that they had much to begin with, but….). Anyway, there was no point using our appendages to fight ‘em: they’d been through enough as it was. So the only thing we could do was put them on the next bus to the mental hospital in Selkirk, with a note signed by the five of us explaining everything.

Sure, they were bad girls. But what a way to go, huh? At the very least, it made up for me being used to wipe the floor by them ‘cause of that java.

Anyhow, me and the ILGWG went on a tear against all the Chesterton coffee plantations on Earth like my pals had confronted them before, and they cried uncle and shut down permanent-like. Bob Bloch and the other drinkers got all better and recovered, and we all lived…well, you know the rest.

At least until the next time Muscle Girl has to save the world, which I hope won’t be too soon. I need some REST!

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Java From Hell-Coffee Enhances Super Powers