By Bub 

Ronnie Mopples lived in Feldspar, Arkansas with his wife Marta. Feldspar, Arkansas was just across the border from Kentuckytown, Missouri where Ronnie worked at a combine assembly plant. Ronnie was proud of those three things more than anything, publicly at least. There was one more thing he was proud of, but this thing he had to keep quiet because he knew what it'd do to people if they knew. Ronnie was telekinetic.

Ronnie loved magic since he was a kid. But right about the time growing up when Ronnie learned that wrestling was just for show, he found out that magicians weren't real either; that it was mostly queers doing it like Siegfried and Roy, and David Copperfield. He threw away the magic set he got for Christmas along with his Rowdy Roddy Piper and Jesse Ventura action figures. He didn't want to trick anybody. He wanted to make a little red ball disappear, and then reappear under a cup, for real. He wanted to cultivate actual magic powers. So he began to practice.

He would sit at his kitchen table for hours; after school; on weekends; over the summer, and try to move things with his mind. He'd start with the refrigerator and work his way down in size to the ceramic cookie jar shaped like a mushroom that had a picture painted halfway down its stem of a bunch of little mushrooms that looked like it. Ronnie would continue to work his way down all the way to individual toothpicks in the rooster shaped toothpick holder on the kitchen table. Then he'd work his way back up to the refrigerator and start all over. Most of his friends from before stopped hanging around Ronnie, but a few would come over and sit with him every now and again and they would stare too; trying to move things with Ronnie. He grew into a teenager, and then a young adult practicing his technique. After a while his friends would need to let out their pent-up, sharply-focused, energy by shoving over sleeping cows and kicking them while they were down in the mud or smashing in rural mailboxes with batons. Ronnie would stay home, though. And he would keep practicing.

After high school, Ronnie, along with about a third of his graduating class, got a job at Regional Harvester Works in Kentuckytown doing piece work on combines. Regional Harvester was the only major employer in the tri-county area where you weren't covered in some animal's blood for your whole shift. It wasn't easy work though. And through normal channels of attrition - getting fired; quitting; quitting to sell real estate; quitting to sell painkillers, then meth; motor vehicle accident death; death by alcohol; hunting accident; murder - Ronnie's friends from high school that were still working at RH were whittled down to three: Ray Dowergrass, Skip Matheny and Dip Dobson. Those three would come over to Ronnie's every Sunday afternoon to stare in the kitchen with Ronnie until a football game peeled them away one by one, or in the summer when one of their girlfriends would get bored and set up ladder ball out in the front yard. Ronnie called these social interactions 'club meetings' - meetings of the Mind Over Matter Club. His friends went along with it as a running joke and eventually, like a running joke that is carried on long enough, the joke part slowly evaporated until they forgot there was ever a punchline.

Marta was Skip's younger sister. Skip started to bring her to club meetings after she quit high school because he didn't want her hanging in bars with the Hondurans from the turkey processing plant. She fell in love with Ronnie despite her brother always making fun of him. She fell for him because he was dedicated and measured - she knew he'd be a good father and all she really wanted was to be a mother; and also because secretly she believed he was supernatural. They got married the August after she started coming around.

Ronnie realized he'd become telekinetic one day at a club meeting when he was focusing on a bottle of Hamm's that was near the edge of a kitchen counter. And even though he was expecting invisible arrows to shoot out of his eyes like that little girl from that book, he didn't feel any, but he did feel a slight vibration go through his body, then 'CRASH'! The bottle laid mangled in a pool of its own foam on Ronnie's dirty kitchen floor.

"Damn it, Ray! Stop slamming the fucking refrigerator door! Look what you did to my beer!!" Skip yelled.

Ronnie shot a knowing glance at Ray who had just retrieved his own bottle of Hamm's from the fridge, then shifted his eyes over to Marta, then Dip, then Skip.

"Ray didn't have anything to do with it, Skip. I did that. With my mind. I felt it and I did it. I finally did it Skip. Hell, I'll buy you a whole 'nother case of Hamm's. I'll be able to buy us all enough Hamm's to last the rest of our lives!!"

Marta squealed with excitement.

"You fucking idiot, Ronnie. Ray slammed the door and caused the bottle to be knocked off by itself, not you. This whole Mind Over Matter thing is bullshit, I thought you knew that."

While everyone sat in silence, Skip considered collecting on Ronnie's offer of a case of beer. He thought better of it and announced he'd had enough for the night. Dip got up without saying anything and followed Skip out the door. Ray chugged his beer while fondling his girlfriend's shoulder. Then he belched and said to Ronnie, "Ronnie, don't take ole Skip to heart. We all know it's bullshit, but we have fun anyhow." He looked at his girlfriend and made a nodding motion toward the door. She sat there smiling at him. "Well, get the fuck up then," Ray said in what he thought was a playful manner. They left

Ronnie sat at the kitchen table while Marta cleaned up the broken beer bottle mess and went to bed. He now knew the devils that would be freed if people found out about his powers. He had better keep a tight lid on his newfound power or lord knows the wrath he would face. He sat for a couple more hours thinking about the devil, and wrath, and then he joined Marta in bed. That was the end of the Mind Over Matter Club.

Some years later at the harvester works Ronnie suffered a horrible injury. He and Skip, and Ray, and Dip, and four other guys were lifting a giant feederhouse up onto a jig so that they could repair one of the chains inside. Skip joshed Ronnie, "Hell, what you need us for? Why don't you just teleport this thing by yourself?!" Ronnie was sure that he could, but only gave a tight, sporting smile. They lifted the monstrosity up and when they went to set it down, one of the other fellas that was next to Ronnie, Gary, yelled to him to make damn sure to watch his fingers. Ronnie did. But Ronnie was in an awkward position and had to straddle an abutment and when they set the thing down it crushed Ronnie right between the legs. Ronnie howled like a meth addict that had just had a miscarriage. The team of men lifted the feederhouse up and Ronnie stumbled into the bathroom. He came out a minute later, while the rest were still in shock or confused as to what had happened, holding himself. "Ronnie, you alright?!" asked Skip. "My balls are black and blue, and my dick is bleeding out of both sides."

Ronnie was off work for four months. The doctor said he would be sterile. Marta stopped believing he was supernatural. She left him for a Honduran she had met at the gas station as soon as he was well enough to go back to work. Ronnie became depressed, stopped going to work. He lost his job, eventually his house. He moved in with his grandparents. He tried to kill himself by eating a dozen bananas and taking a half bottle of vitamins. He had heard somewhere that too much potassium could kill you. It didn't work. He was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. One of the patients told him that if he didn't have anything, he wouldn't have anything to lose. That patient just mimicked Bob Dylan lyrics all day, and followed that one up by saying derisively to Ronnie, "It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe" and then, "The handmade blade, the child's balloon..." Ronnie was struck by the first insight, though

When he was released, after he was determined to no longer be a threat to himself or others, he went back to his grandparents' house. But this time he slept in an old tub outside that had been stood up on its side behind the garage for decades. He learned to eat dandelions and acorns and to drink rainwater. He stopped thinking about his old life. He stopped trying move things with his mind. He became content. Skip would stop by once a month or so and visit with Ronnie's grandparents. They'd sit on the back porch smoking USA Gold cigarettes, look toward the garage and mutter, "It's a shame," back and forth to each other.

Eventually Ronnie became tormented by the devils. In his lonely hours he would accidentally think about them. He could no longer stand concealing his special power. He came up with a plan to prove to the world that he had this power and that he deserved all the reverence that he had imagined was in store. He would need a box of condoms, a syringe, and a dozen eggs.

He climbed out of his tub in his tattered Looney Tunes t-shirt and his jeans that were so stiff from being repeatedly rained on and sun-dried that they crunched with every movement, and he headed off towards the CVS/Pharmacy where he knew he could find all three items on his list. He was so enthralled with purpose that his vision became tunneled, his jaw slack, and his arms outstretched. He limped at an awkward but steady pace sending children in his path screaming and crying for help. When he entered the CVS the commerce inside ground slowly to a halt until the store became a frozen moment in time that only Ronnie had free access to. He slinked to the back to get a syringe, then to the grocery isle to get the eggs, and then went right behind the front counter to retrieve the condoms. He was met with no objections, and left without acknowledging anyone.

His brain was boiling in ecstasy. He couldn't hold it in, so he went directly to the bushes outside the store. He crawled in between the two biggest ones, slid off his pants and applied a condom to his erection. When he finished, he removed the condom and sucked out the sterile semen with the syringe, and then injected it into one of the eggs. He repeated this process eleven times over the course of two and a half hours until the entire dozen embryos were ready. He closed the egg carton and clasped it with both hands. He shut his eyes tight and concentrated with all his power until he felt a shudder from deep within himself. That's when he knew it worked. He had successfully impregnated chicken eggs with his own sterile human sperm. He picked up the egg carton and took off running, not even bothering to put back on his pants. He had no time for that; he needed to get to an incubator before some devil tried to stop him.


  1. Fantastic! Kentuckytown is an amazing place and syringe-condom-egg fiction is my favorite genre.

  2. This was great. I'm starting a chapter of the Mind Over Matter Club here.


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