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Welcome to the new Stream of Consciousness fiction blog.

A serial adventure in fiction by Brad Sondahl

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Chapter 22
The Adventures of HandiMan and FiberWoman
    Being as the election is still a long ways away, I've decided to wander back into the past, and tell of the amazing life my wife and I once led as crimefighting super heroes.  This was back before our children Bonzo and Starfighter were born.  It was the 1970's.  The Equal Rights Amendment was sputtering through its abortive legislative process.  The abortion rights movement was sputtering through its judicial process.  Curiously, Alice was against the ERA and abortion, while I was for them, although we had no personal stake in either matter.  All this has nothing to do with the story, it's just setting the mood of the era.
    We were living earnest lives of quiet desperation in the backwoods, trying to make an impact by leaving no imprints.  Oh, that's right, I remember telling you about the goats...  In the winter evenings we'd sit around the woodstove, and I'd plunk on the banjo or try to fix something, while Alice would work on weaving, or knitting.

    If I wasn't playing the banjo, we'd listen to public radio.  And this is exactly what we were doing, when we heard on the local news that a roof beam had cracked at the High School from the heavy snows, and the gymnasium roof was ready to collapse, with the basketball teams nearly to the tournament.   I knew at once this was a job for HandiMan.  So I told Alice I was going to town for some groceries, and drove off in our old truck.
    It's not good for married couples to have a lot of secrets from one another, but if you have to obscure your secret identity as a superhero, fudging the truth a bit should be allowed.
"Why not," you may ask, "just tell your wife you're going to see if you could help fix the roof at the school?"  Look, life is boring enough if you do everything straightforwardly.  Anyway, I don't know why superheroes all have secret everyday identities, since there are plenty of crimes and disasters to deal with on a full time basis, but I guess everybody deserves a little time off.  And given that a minor slipup gave away my identity to the nefarious Feminist Womanizer, I guess it all makes sense.

    When I arrived at the Burning Prairie High School, I opened a rusty secret compartment built into the back of the truck, and took out my special heavy duty tool belt.   When I inherited the tool belt from the Zen Carpenters of Woodchuck, Minnesota, I learned the secret of the tool belt.  When you wear an elaborate enough tool belt, you immediately become anonymous, and don't even have to wear a Lone Ranger style mask, as everyone looks to see what cool tools you've got on your belt.   This would probably have even  worked for Batman with his utility belt, but he probably thought up the bat mask first, which is indeed highly cool.   So I donned the HandiMan tool belt, and walked confidently under the yellow police tape without incident.
    I won't bore you with the details of the repair.  Suffice it to say, that I successfully battled the forces of the Custodian,  School Board, the Building Inspector, and the School Insurance Agency, and when I kicked out the prop that had been temporarily supporting the roof, it stayed in place perfectly.  I left to the sound of happy teens and dribbling baskets, and took off my tool belt at the truck, where I immediately became just another guy, except I guess I was spotted in transition by The Feminist Womanizer..  I went to the grocery store, threw a few items into the cart, and returned home.

    Although I was gone several hours, Alice was still knitting away on a scarf, and she didn't remark on how long I'd been gone.  We were settled in listening to the radio again, when a news flash reported that The Super Duper, zapped by weakening zeton rays, was hanging perilously by his purple cape from the Crochet Tower, the mega craft store of Lilac City.  To make matters worse, the cape was developing a small rip in it! Alice suddenly announced that she'd run out of taupe wool, and would have to make a run to get some more. I don't know why women can't plan their trips in a more orderly fashion, as we were living miles away in the woods, and I could have just picked up some for her when I was in town earlier...  At any rate, she was back in an hour or so, and by then the radio announced that the super hero, FiberWoman, had rescued the Super Duper.
    "Did you see that marvelous FiberWoman?"  I asked.  "There aren't many superheroes that have a chance to bail out the Super Duper...  I wish I'd been there."
    "Men!" She said. "If he'd done a better job sewing that cape in the first place, it wouldn't have ripped."
    "What, you think the Super Duper sewed his own cape?"
    "It sure looked like it!  Er, I mean, from a distance I could see the inferior sewing job."

    Just then the door swung open. It was the Feminist Womanizer!
    "Don't you believe in knocking? " I asked.
    "Knocking heads!" she replied.  "I can't believe the sexist stereotyping you are falling victim to.  I know about both your paltry double lives.  Fortunately I've come to save you from yourselves."  She pulled out something that was exactly a hybrid between a fairy wand and a ray gun, if you can imagine that.  "This Sex Role Swapper will soon settle your hash."
    She fired before we even had time to resist futilely.  There was a puff of sulfurous steam, and she was gone...
    The funny thing is that it didn't do anything to us, no exploded body parts, or even unusual swollen body parts.  We both decided that rather than a sex roll swapper, she was just a super nut cake.

    Shortly thereafter, Alice mentioned that the washer had been leaking, and she had an idea of how to fix it with some hose clamps and duct tape.   I didn't think she had a chance, but I'd been avoiding dealing with the washer for a while, so she was welcome to her turn at it.  I said I'd see what I could scrabble up for supper.  I must have been hungry, because everything in the cook book looked good, and not that hard to do.  What's a little thing like spending a couple hours prep time on making a 15 minute meal, considering the results? And the results were wonderful!  I was disappointed that Alice didn't comment on the great meal, but I'd noticed she was quieter than usual.  
    All she said was, "I'm thinking if we overhauled the car engine by ourselves, we could save a bundle..."


Use this chart to find the next of the cartoons (first 47  entries) or the stories (starting with  1 A River Too Far 5 rows below week 8)
Cartoon:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week5 
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
 Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Week 30
Week 31
Week 32
Week 33
Week 34
Week 35
Week 36
Week 37
Week 38
Week 39
Week 40
Week 41
Week 42
Week 43
Week 44
Week 45
Week 46
Week 47
(cartoon ends)
1. A River Too Far
2.The Reunion
3.The Daily Grind
4 The New Car and Treasure
5. The Big 
Bambootees
6. The old
Switcheroo
7. The Ravine Runner 8. The Fabulous
Folk Festival
9. Druid
Fluid
10. Goats of
Christmas Past
11. The Secret Six 12. The Great
White Hunters
13. The Old School
14
Lost in the City
15
Schlemiel
Possession

16
What's in
a name?
17
The Curse of
Bently Manor
18
Shortbottom Possessed
19
The Lost
Treasure
of Iraq
20
Phil Steen
for President!
21
Phil Steen
for Rehab
22
The Adventures
of Handiman
and Fiberwoman
23
Quantum
Uncertainty
revealed
24
Pirates of the Puget Sound
 25
Building a platform, plank by plank
26
The Quest
for meaning
27
Larry and
Phil to
The Rescue
28
Hurrah for
the Reds,
Whites, and
Blues
29
Phil
loses
his
mind
30
Earth
Strikes
Back
31
Harry
the
Potter
32
How I spent
my summer
vacation
33
Help
I am
trapped in
the Present
!
34
Help I am trapped
in the future
35
The
Nose of Death
36
Infectious
Laughter
37
Election
Update