“So, don’t think humans can’t be superman, or superwoman. They can. Muscles explode!”
Blinking, my fishy lips tightened. Next to me, Heidi Angst started, “But how can…”
“The mind works wonders.” Mr. Kent our science instructor loosened his skinny green tie and tapped one shiny, black penny loafer to the waxed, school floor.
“But slimy salamander, you don’t mean lift a car sir?” Heidi kept on. “I don’t believe I…”
“Case after case: documented,” Mr. Kent blabbed. “Heidi, all of you, the mind snaps muscles to action as GI Joe might shoot and run. When it wants: remove a tree trunk; lift the front end of a two-ton truck, swim the Channel, kill a shark, when someone’s trapped, when a loved one needs help, your inner superman, the mind, jerks, muscles to attention. Kryptonite juices flow. If only we could…”
“Katszhing!” Outside our window lightning flashed in the courtyard. Students gasped.
Like a madman, “That’s it!” squawked Mr. Kent. He went nuts. Hair stood on end and wiry arms rose as he shrieked, “Lightning in a bottle!” Like Michael Jackson, he spun. “If we could consistently capture energy from the mind, concentrate, think what power, what force our muscles might move. Team work, build, and we’ll dream!”
“Ringgg!” The Chutney Academy school bell rang. Class ended, school was turtle-turned-over, and…”
“Katszhing!” Again, lightning struck; and weird Mr. Kent had us edgy.
Shortly, I left for home. But Mr. Kent’s laughter, lightning in a bottle and muscles had disturbed my thoughts.
(Image of Wilbur in class listening to Mr. Kent, science instructor, about muscles explode)
I was a 98-pound weakling. I’d always been fascinated by muscles. But I had few to none. Thankfully, I had a brain.
The following day I was on the practice field. Chutney Academy for Gifted Minds had a midget football team; and I was the water-boy for all sports, a critical and highly-regarded member of the teams, so coach told me.
A sunny day, after school, Bog, Noolan, Gering, Isen and my buddies, players for the team, they practiced.
“They’ll lock horns tomorrow night,” I said. Heidi was with me. Her braided, gold hair glistened, her eyes always alive like immaculate water droplets filtering rainbows.
“I just wish our boys wouldn’t get beat up, so.” Heidi sighed. “They try so hard. Our boys need big muscles.”
At midfield, watching, I put one finger to my chin, inhaled, and wondered.
(Image of Wilbur on practice football field with Heidi, talking about the need for big muscles)
Three days later, after my teams suffered a humiliating defeat—38 to 0—to Sussex Bay private school, after one more power talk by science teacher, Mr. Kent, and after hearing coach scream in the locker room, “You boys pump more iron, get bigger,” I was in the lab. In our bright basement I had tables, glassware, chemistry sets, and electricity. Dad set me up at Christmas. A chemist, he had a cool job at a big factory.
“Wilbur, be careful, but experiment. Man was meant to build. Chutney Academy builds minds. Power up and tinker with energy, with life.”
I did. With thoughts of losing teams, weaklings, muscle and lightning in a bottle, I got to work.
I knew sodium, potassium, calcium—which we could get from salt, bananas, milk, they reacted violently in water, released energy, and that our bodies demanded these elements, or ions as Mr. Kent said they were in tiny, tiny amounts. Too, ion channels, protein paths in our cells, were like bridges, or the gateways to action. So, pour here, add there, and mixing natural ingredients and…”
“Poof! Ssst.” Like fireworks, my lab concoction popped, smoked, and sizzled.
I’d read books on water, reactions, and energy, also. Drinks, drinks, my boys must power-up.
In a beaker, wearing gloves, I gazed. I wondered if I had magic.
“Test. I need a test,” I whispered.
(Image of Wilbur in the lab working at chemicals to help produce big muscles)