This is a sneak peek of the first chapter of my next Kindle novel.
Canon City was burning.
Perhaps he shouldn’t have set it on fire.
John Smith straddled the crown of the Metropol Tower, letting the wind flick his cape with dramatic flare. Hands on hips and a steely frown, he imagined himself an icon.
“Your underpants are on inside out.”
The mocking tone of her voice ruined his moment. He turned to see her, staring back at him from a safe perch, her camera aimed at nothing.
“I don’t have time to be teased,” he tried to sound enigmatic, “The city’s on fire.”
“You’ve got time to strike a pose though,” she said, finally pointing the camera his way and taking a snap without framing it.
“I was gathering my strength,” he lied, nodding his head at the sun just as it emerged from behind a cloud. He smiled inwardly; she might think he made that happen.
But Leigh-Ann Lopez seemed distracted by something. He followed her gaze, and swore softly.
The stadium blew up.
The shock wave nearly tore his cape from his shoulders as it whipped behind him ferociously. Leigh Ann was knocked off her feet, leaving one single stiletto embedded in the gravel of the rooftop. He could see her legs sticking up out of a pile of rubbish bags.
No time to be a gentleman now, he’d help her to her feet once the city was safe.
Chivalry wasn’t dead just yet for The Common Man; just on hold.
That was his name here on Earth. The Common Man. With his blue cape, white suit and red pants, he was a beacon of justice in Canon City. The red cross emblazoned across his chest was a symbol of everything good about humanity.
John Smith had chosen his outfit wisely.
Except the thong.
That often got hitched up in his crack.
He reached round behind his cape and tugged it free from its buttocky prison. As it snapped back in to place, he took a moment to feel his ass. Nice and muscled, the way a good ass should be. Not like that dick The Dark’s ass, all moulded plastic armour; this was all his.
John Smith stared at his boots. There was something he was supposed to be doing.
He lifted his head up, just as a car smacked in to his jaw.
The flaming chassis burnt into his skin and knocked him clean off the tower, sending him hurling out in to the air with a face full of Mazda. Grappling with it, he extricated himself from the twisted metal and tossed it aside.
It landed on a dog.
The Common Man hovered and bobbed twelve storeys up, his hair smoking, and spat out some teeth.
They landed in the splattered remains of a dog.
Two new incisors slowly began to grow in his mouth. He might be called The Common Man, but John Smith was no ordinary man.
He wasn’t even a man.
He was the last surviving inhabitant of Mauro, a planet in the far flung reaches of the galaxy. John Smith – his name by happenstance matched the phonetics of English perfectly – was the son of his father Elaine, and his mother Derek.
Together they ruled over a warring dominion that was tearing Mauro apart. Literally. A device implanted in the planet’s core by the enemies of Elaine eventually tore the planet to pieces.
In the last moments, Elaine had dispatched the infant John Smith aboard a ship programmed to bring him to Earth. The journey took years, with John Smith in slow-stasis, as a computer educated him on the ways of humanity.
Unfortunately, the program had locked up and simply looped through the first ten minutes. For a millennia.
When he crash-landed in Suffolk, John Smith was a full-sized Mauron, with exactly ten minutes of education. It was enough to get him by.
His father had entrusted him with a mission.
Learn from Elaine’s mistakes. Bring humanity together.
He’d learned a lot from his Father, a man of sage advice. At least for ten minutes. One such nugget of wisdom was ‘always fight fire with fire’. That’s why John Smith had set alight the gas works; to put out a smouldering pile of leaves.
Things had spiralled out of control since.
Hovering in the air, The Common Man narrowed his eyes, deep in thought. The fire was much bigger now. What had his Father once said?
“They’re a good people John Smith, for the most part. A few of them are cun …” and then the loop began again.
No, not that.
Something about fighting fire with fire. That seemed familiar.
Well, this was a big fire, so maybe he should start a bigger fire. The burning stadium in the corner of his eye nagged at his brain for a moment. Oh yes, that’s right. That’s what started this mess in the first place.
What’s good for fighting fire?
John Smith’s brain often got stuck in loops, and it took the flaming head of a football player dropping past his eyes to break it.
The red, white and blue streak of The Common Man ascended skywards. From the heavens he took stock of the carnage. The fire engulfed half of the downtown precincts, the stadium was a mass of rubble, and the gas works simply didn’t exist anymore.
Only one thing for it.
He’d have to rewind history.
Fifth time this week.
A sonic boom fanned the flames beneath him and helped them engulf the museum. It didn’t matter now, as John Smith blasted out of the atmosphere and up into space. He began circling the planet with increasing speed, and with each supersonic orbit, Earth’s spin began to slow, until finally it shifted in to reverse and history began to unwind.
The Common Man was getting so good at this he bought time back to the moment the leaves began to smoke.
He landed beside them with a thump, sending a few wafting away from the pile, a wispy trail of smoke in their wake. A smouldering heap was much more manageable than a desecrated city. John Smith clicked his jaw back in to place with a bone-crunching pop.
They weren’t exactly aflame, but as Elaine had said, there’s no smoke without fire. Or was that his novelty toilet roll? It was easy to confuse the two. Either way, the adage held true, he was sure of it. What had his toilet roll also told him?
He chuckled. That’s right. “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.”
Only one thing for it then. The Common Man spread his legs and hooked the front of his red thong down. He fumbled with himself for a moment before he remembered his white Lycra suit was a one piece.
With a huge sigh, he reached behind his back and tugged at the Velcro, and began the interminable process of peeling away the material. He might be a Superhero, but the sweat still clung to his skin, and the Lycra was glued to it due to an unfortunate choice of talcum powder.
By the time the suit was rolled around his knees, the cool wind teasing his taut buttocks, John Smith had forgotten what he was doing. With a furrowed brow, he looked down at his penis, the only thing alien about his otherwise human-looking form. He quite liked the fork in it, but he wasn’t so sure it needed spikes.
He idly rolled his four balls in his palm, trying to remember why he was half-naked in front of a pile of smoking leaves.
“What the fuck are you doing?” a voice screeched from across the car park, “There’s a school there.”
The Common Man looked up to see a fairly non-descript chap headed his way, angry and shocked.
“Don’t worry ma’am,” he commanded, then turned his shoulder to show the approaching gent his cape.
“I don’t care if you’re God hims… Oh Jesus.” The sight of John Smith’s tackle made the man turn and retch.
Just then, the thought popped back into his head, and he gripped one of his shafts in his fingers and began to urinate over the leaves. They sizzled in the green stream and the smoke slowly dampened.
The man staggered across the car park, choking on the fumes, and passed out behind a car.
John Smith gave himself a cleansing shake and began to get dressed. By the time he was readjusting his cape, the guy emerged from behind the car and called him a freak.
“Just doing my job ma’am,” he asserted, then gave the Mauron salute.
“Well fuck you too,” he screamed and jogged away.
John Smith furrowed his brow and turned his fist to examine the salute. People seemed to react so strangely to the single extended finger.
He’d been here a year, but what with all the time shenanigans, he surmised it was only a week for the citizens of Canon City. They needed more time to adjust to his heroic ways.
The Common Man launched himself into the air with another sonic boom.
Then drifted back to the ground sheepishly to retrieve his thong.