[Prompt: A mysterious race of beings has appeared on Earth. They’ve come with the promise of granting super-human abilities to a limited number of people. You are the last person chosen, and find that all they have left are the “not-so-super-human” abilities.]
Having a last name like Zomlik had always ensured I was at the end of the list. Being the tallest in school meant I was at the back of the line. Having four opinionated, older sisters meant my ideas were always heard (and nearly always disregarded) after all of theirs. The finally had belonged to me countless times throughout my life. It didn’t really come as a surprise to me that I ended up being the last person chosen to get a gift from the aliens.
The Blueys had arrived on Earth a week ago. At first mankind was in chaos, their rank of superiority had never been in question. But the Blueys had come in peace, and though they technically might be more superior than man, they had no interest in proving it. Instead, they came with a promise. A promise of granting super-human abilities to a limited number of people. With the promise of new power dangling in front of the humans, they forgot about the superiority, and instead wanted to know who was going to get these super powers.
The first power the Blueys gave us wasn’t for one person, it actually went to an entire town. All the residents of a rural burg in some desert in Arizona were given the ability to fly. Why the Blueys chose the po-dunk-town and the explanation for the flying skill was beyond me. It was a short reported story due to the actions that followed.
High ranking military officials were selected to gain super strength, teleportation, mind reading and various other alarming skills one wouldn’t want turned against them. I suppose most of the populace didn’t question the Blueys actions because they seemed to be helping us out. I had to admit that it did seem responsible to give those type of abilities to people who were used to wielding power. They would use them wisely.
Three months passed and hundreds of people were selected to gain powers. No one could ever predict who would be chosen next, or what the power would be. Would it be something we hadn’t seen before, or would it be the same thing that Bill in New York got?
It became an obsession. Illegal gambling rings were capitalizing on the hype. Guess the state, you double up. Guess the state and the gender of the new power holder, hello pay day. Guess the state, gender, and power… well, no one had done that yet that I’d heard, but I was sure there was an insanely huge jackpot going for that one.
If I had been smart, I would have looked back on my life experience and bet on myself. I should have taken every instance of being the caboose and turned it into dollar signs. It was like my whole life had been preparing for the moment where I needed to bet on myself, but I had been so far back that I missed the message…because I was last. It also didn’t help that I didn’t gamble. The odds had been against me from the start.
The Bluey was sitting on my couch. After arriving home from work, I opened the front door of my house to find him relaxing comfortably. He had even helped himself to a beer.
“Hello…” I felt my mouth open to say the word, but I can’t recall now if it closed afterwards.
“Greetings, Ryan. I have some news for you. You’re going to be the last human to get a gift.”
I stood motionless in the doorway. My heart beat rapidly in my chest, but I felt laughter bubbling up from my core. I tried to stifle it, but only succeeded in snorting before I let out a single ‘ha’ sound.
“Yes, yes, I understand Ryan. You see, I’m the last one to go as well. I know what it’s like to be last in all that you do. That’s why I chose you.”
I tried to straighten up and gain some composure. The least I could do was look appreciative. Clearing my throat I replied, “Well…thanks, I think. What power do I get?”
The Bluey cocked his head thoughtfully, looking up at the ceiling as he tapped his tentacles on his upper appendages together, “I’ve done a lot of thinking on it, and I’ve decided that the obvious is the best power I could choose.”
My brow furrowed with obvious confusion. I wasn’t quite sure what a Bluey might consider obvious when I was the subject. I licked my dry lips before asking, “And which power is the most obvious?”
The Bluey looked at me, “To be first, of course,” he nodded, undeniably convinced at his solution.
My head tilted to the side, my eyebrow lifted reflexly, “To be first at what?”
“Everything,” he replied. He nodded once more, pointed at me, and made odd sucking and clicking noises that I can only describe as a squid trying to talk out of water. It felt like a hammer struck me in the center of my forehead and I fell over, blacking out.
When I woke up the Bluey was gone from my couch. Not only that, all of the Blueys had apparently left the planet. The world went on, some lucky humans having powers, some having none, and one having the power to be ‘first at everything’.
The Bluey had neglected to tell me how to call upon my mysterious first power. Pointing at objects and yelling “FIRST!” had no effect. Waving my hands and stating “ta-da!” also had no effect. Staring at strangers and thinking the word ‘first’ also seemed to have no effect.
It wasn’t until three days later when I was at the coffee shop that I realized how my power worked. I entered the quaint shop, stared at the cliche chalkboard menu and decided on my order. I approached the end of the line and the woman stepped aside, and then the man in front of her did the same, the girl at the front of the line stopped mid-order and stepped back as well, waiting for me to approach the counter. I grinned and walked past them all, placing my order first.
Sure, going first wasn’t as flashy as shooting fireballs from my fingers or reading a stranger’s thoughts, but it definitely had some unforeseen perks.
But there were situations when going first was not that awesome. Point and case being: intimacy with my girlfriend. Going first is not okay!
So now I live my life as a premiere instead of a finally. The irony being that I am now the first human waiting for the Blueys to come back so that I can go back to being last.