by Ken Dean

When it comes to power, extraordinary humans will still act human.

D I S C U S S I O N  F O R U M  |  R E T U R N  T O  S T  O N L I N E




Artie seemed like the perennial tourist, right down to the shorts, tropical shirt, and camera carried in his pocket. This was in spite of the fact that he had actually been a Manhattan resident for over thirty years now. He had adopted the tourist lifestyle ever since his wife passed away over ten years ago.

Life hadn't always been so easy. His father had been a poor meat packer and times were rough growing up in Brooklyn. He remembered poor times and thin dinners with his family. It was always a struggle for his parents to divide what little income they had between bills, food, rent, and the children's needs.

One day in school during a boring class, Artie was twiddling his pencil between his fingers. That was when he discovered his gift. His family was never poor again. His father never questioned his gift. They kept it a family secret and enjoyed the good life.

Akira was always dressed in impeccable business attire. His family was quite wealthy. He and his father owned an upscale Manhattan brokerage house.

Akira didn't start out with the good life. He had suffered a rough start as well. He had been born to a poor Tokyo fisherman. Their family always ate rice and some of the fish his father caught, what was left after selling the rest to the local market. Their father made just enough to keep up with shelter, clothing, and school demands. Many times Akira would come home crying after being teased for being hosoboso, or poor, due to the second hand clothing he wore.

One day Akira was walking through the market after school on the way to his father's fish stand. A well dressed businessman was walking the other way and dropped his newspaper in front of Akira, who, always trying to be the polite child, reached down to pick it up. The businessman reached down at the same moment and accidentally touched Akira's hand. Akira handed the newspaper to him; they both bowed to each other in proper acknowledgement of mannerly behavior. The man turned to go on his way, took about six steps, and fell down face first. Akira ran to get his father as a crowd gathered. An ambulance was called and Akira and his father watched as they loaded the businessman into the ambulance and took him away. The next day's paper said he had died of a sudden brain aneurysm.

Life went on for Akira's family. One evening while doing his schoolwork, Akira noticed he had absentmindedly drawn some funny symbols on his writing pad. He asked his father what they were. His father had an idea of what they were, but went to a businessman living in the village to be sure. The businessman was shocked, because what he saw were stock trends. Not just any stock trends, but ones from the Tokyo Stock Exchange that showed a possible futuristic pattern.

Akira's father was encouraged to take some of their meager life savings and invest in the stocks. He did so, and to his amazement, reaped earnings equal to a year's wages in a few weeks' time. Akira wrote down more of the stock symbols and values for his father, and the trend continued.

Akira's family was soon wealthy, leaving all the trappings of near poverty behind. By the time Akira was eighteen, their family was so wealthy that they moved to New York, where his father purchased his own brokerage house. Akira's family never had to worry about financial matters again.

Artie and Akira wound up sitting on the same park bench in Central Park, both of them breathing in the spring odors beginning to emerge this time of year. Sunlight was trickling down through the rustling trees above them. Springtime in Manhattan, at least in Central Park, was worth waiting for. People with gifts always have a sense, an unspoken feeling about one another that enables them to tell when they were in the presence of another gifted.

Akira bowed towards Artie. "My name is Akira Tanaka."

"Pleased to meet you, Akira. Mine is Arthur Midaska, but please, call me Artie."

"So what's your gift?" Akira asked Artie.

"So you're sure I'm one?" Artie asked cautiously.

"Yes, I can tell."

"Okay, watch this."

Artie bent over the side of the park bench and picked up a small branch. He held it in one palm, reached up and touched it with his index finger and—gold. The branch had turned golden, but not just any gold; it shined with a luster that would have been tested at almost pure quality.

"Nice trick, huh?"

"Impressive. I'm assuming you have a comfortable lifestyle with such a gift."

"Yes, it's financed myself and my family since I was eighteen. My father saw the potential immediately and never questioned how I was able to do it. We kept it quiet from the rest of the family for secrecy's sake, saying only that father had come into some lucrative business ventures."

"Were there ever any problems turning pure gold into cash?" Akira asked incredulously. "That much pure gold sold outright would surely raise some eyebrows."

"You have a good point," Artie answered, excited to have someone to tell his story to. "The pure gold was hard to fence, or sell, and we couldn't use normal markets as a means to get rid of it. My father knew a few mob connections. He inquired and found they were all too happy to take gold off our hands at half the cost that they could make through fencing and other methods. And we still made pure cash profit at the selling price. It's a method I'm still using to this day; the arrangement has worked out quite well. Our family has even enjoyed mob protection over the years due to the long partnership."

"That's quite an arrangement you have."

"Thank you. So Akira, you must have a gift also."

"Yes, you're correct. In fact, I have several," Akira said proudly.

"Several?" Artie replied in amazement. "The most I've ever heard of is one per gifted. Show me."

"Okay." Akira looked around one way and another to make sure they were relatively alone. He gestured towards a trash can a few feet down the walk path. It began to lift into the air.

"Telekinesis, huh? How heavy can you lift?"

"I've lifted heavier, but I'm not sure what my upper limit is."

"Really good trick, what about the others?"

"See that pigeon over there by the pond?"

Akira pointed towards it and a thin bolt of lightning shot out and fried it in an instant.

"And now for the real eye opener."

Akira snapped his fingers and everything froze. The rustling in the trees had stopped, birds were motionless in midair, and people across the pond had stopped still in their tracks. And the quiet—there was no sound whatsoever. Artie's ears rang with the absence of sound. Akira snapped his fingers again and everything returned to normal.

"Akira, I'm quite impressed!" Artie said incredulously. "Never have I seen so many gifts in one individual."

"I have one more. It is my favorite."

"Show me, friend."

Akira reached over and grasped Artie's hand. Artie convulsed, shook, and collapsed. He hung over the side of the park bench, blood leaking from his nose and his dead, gaping mouth. Akira let go of Artie's hand, reached over the bench and picked up a rock. He watched as it turned to pure gold in his grasp.

He smiled. "I take others."






Copyright © 2008 Ken Dean

A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R:

Ken Dean started writing about four years ago and then got serious two years ago. Speculative Fiction or fiction in general is his genre of choice. Ken has had several publications at Silverthought Press ( He also has published several stories in different issues of Down in the Dirt magazine and in the anthology collections Chaos Theory and Distinguished Writings from Scars Publications ( and at Bewildering Stories (

You may contact Ken at

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