Mick's Rejects

The fiction no one wanted

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 2 part 17

Mick clipped a microphone onto his cape.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” he said. “You have the privilege of watching Mick the Magnificent! Please watch closely! There’s nothing up my sleeves! Nothing between my ears! At no time do my hands leave the end of my arms!”

The audience watched, stone faced. They never listened.

He took a small box from his suitcase.

“Now, if I can divert your…”

His voice immediately became softer, prompting him to tap at the microphone on his cape. He realised it had fallen off. The audience of four laughed as he picked it up from the floor. A woman and her friend stopped by, smiling at the prospect of him doing something funny. He took a step forward into the centre of the court working his rhetoric. The more elaborate his oratory, the more the audience missed his sleight of hand techniques.

The eyes of his audience rolled expectantly to one side. He followed their gaze, finding a large dog sniffing at the small box. It nudged at the box and attempted to bite the side. Mick tried to wave the dog back, but it ignored him. He began to panic, as the dog apparently detected his trained dove inside the box.

“My assistant is a bit over eager!” he quipped.

Surprisingly, he got more laughs than the few people he noted watching.

“Get out of it,” he said angrily from the side of his mouth.

The dog ignored him. Mick pushed at the dog and leapt back as it turned to snap at him. He snatched up his magic wand from its place beside one of the cassette players, playing out its pathetic tune. The dog went back to biting at the box. Mick whacked the can down on the table, deterring the animal. It turned on him with fangs barred. He fenced with the beast, keeping it at bay with rigorous swishing, resulting in plastic flowers sprouting from its tip. The dog clamped down, and tore the cane from his grasp, before running off through the crowd.

More people joined in the laughter.

“He’ll be back!” Mick said. “He knows where he’s fed!”

Not that his act went anywhere near the way he wanted, but he had gained somewhere between 20 and 30 more spectators.

“Ok, would you like to see some ventriloquism?!”

He received a staggered, “yeah,” from his audience as he fished the dummy out of his suitcase. It had been an object from the 60s, old scuffed, and faded, which he found in a Salvation Army outlet. It’s mouth looked garishly red, which he touched up with a discarded stub of lipstick. The mottled blond wig shifted on its virtually bald head. Reaching into his pocket, he took out a stick of chewing gum and put it in his mouth, hurriedly chewing. As he did this, he turned off the cassette players and put another tape into one of them.

Lifting the dummy’s wig, he pressed the chewing gum down on its scalp, and slapped down on the wig, pressing it into place.

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 2 part 16

“And what’s your name, sir?” asked the student.


“Is that a first or last name?”

No one can be that stupid. “Last name.”

The student gave a dopey laugh.

“No, sir, what’s your first name?”


“Always be mindful if the customer wishes not to engage in conversation,” said the lecturer.

Thank you.

Although the student didn’t impress Mick as being very intelligent, part of his brusque interaction with others came as a result of his mental condition; social anxiety disorder. It made him afraid to be interactive with people. Often he acted abruptly, adding sarcasm to the mix in order to deter people from speaking to him. He always regretted it later. There were things he missed out on in life; a lasting love, friendships, employment. The strange thing was, he always worked well on the job, but didn’t relate to others in the work place. Oddly, that’s what got him dismissed time after time. That’s why he took up magic tricks as a job. It gave him a chance to converse with other people, even if only on a one sided conversation. It also had the added consolation of having to work alone. His therapist said “it was a good idea;” a small step for now.

Maybe I should take up writing, he thought.

Much to his relief, the student cut his hair without another word. Mick paid him and crossed the park at a run with his suitcase on its wheeled support. One of the wheels came away, forcing the suitcase to drag. Laughter broke out among a group of teenagers. He didn’t have time to retrieve the wheel. Cursing under his breath, he heaved the case; first onto his shoulder, then onto his back and broke into a jog for the shopping centre. On passing through the automatic doors, he refrained from chastising the milling shoppers who constantly got in his way en route for the central court.

“Ladies and gentlemen; it’s Mick the Magnificent!” a voice said over the speakers.

Immediately after, limp music from the 60s played on as Mick slipped through the gap. Lenny, a fat, almost bald man, wearing bow tie and suspenders waited by a microphone. He made the announcement over the speakers.

Mick dropped his case on the floor.

“Where have you been?” demanded Lenny. “I’ve come out of retirement to help you; you know.”

Lenny always made the point of saying that.

“It’s not easy getting big gigs like this,” said Lenny.

Mick glanced over his shoulder as he tied on his cape. People went about their business in the shopping centre. A total of four people watched. A bored woman, stood with two small children, and an invalided old man in a wheelchair nearby. He wondered if an uncaring family left the old man there to occupy him while they shopped.

“It is a big crowd,” Mick admitted.

“Do you want help setting up?”

“No, I’m right,” Mick said, placing the first cassette player in front of a mounted microphone.

He turned it on. Drums played, not a solo, but a steady beat which varied at odd points. Not able to afford to properly mix a tune, or pay musicians he recorded different instruments separately on different tapes.

He took out the second cassette player.

“It’d be easier to download music,” said Lenny.

“Everything’s copyrighted. 1-2-3,” he counted off before pressing play on the second player.

He timed it precisely. A kazoo sideshow tune played in keeping with the beat.

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 2 part 15

“I see where this is going,” said Javelin. “Sooner or later, their resources get used up, and then the army’s called in.”

“Exactly,” said Wil.

“But they’ll be more efficient and better prepared.”

“True, but by this time, so will we. This is perfect. It will draw our enemies to us, rather than have us create various areas of havoc. Once we defeat the military’s efforts, we’ll have the attention of governments. Eventually, we’ll negotiate with world leaders on the terms of their surrender.”

“When do we start?” asked Odin.

“Today, but our first stop is to get costumes.”

“Why?” Odin asked incredulously.

“Like I said before, ‘It’s all about making a statement.”’


Mick made his way into the local tech college, with $5 in hand, which he had saved to pay for his haircut. That left him $2 for lunch. He carried the tools of his trade, a large suitcase into the building. Extending the handles for the wheeled carrier, he backed up the stairs. A young man trotted down to a halt beside him.

“Do you want help with that, old fellow?”

Mick looked, refusing to yield to an angry glare. Although in his 50s, he was fitter and stronger than most men in their prime.

“No thank you,” he said, resuming his climb.

“Are you sure?”

Am I sure? Does he think I don’t know what I want? 

“Yes, that’ll be fine,” Mick assured him.

He entered the second floor and found the hairstylists’ class. Almost the entire end of the floor had been sealed off with a window. Through it, Mick could see students, cutting hair at their barbers’ chairs as a lecturer supervised. With their backs to him, he could see potential customers waiting their turn in chairs lined against the window. He never waited more than a few minutes. The lecturers always pushed to get people in and out as quickly as possible.

Taking his seat, he waited, opening his case to make sure he’d brought everything. It read, “Mick the Magnificent” in bold letters on the lid. Inside, it had three portable cassette players, his ventriloquist doll, his vampire like cape, and an assortment of props, designed to entertain his audience. He snapped the case shut again.

“Excuse me, sir; you’re next,” said the lecturer.

Mick placed the case under the long counter, serving all the students. He looked in the mirror as he took his seat. His face had grown drawn, and his hair had become a dried mixture of black and white. Nothing about the face distinguished him or looked appealing; merely old.

A young man, whom he couldn’t tell if he was Asian or Pacific Islander, snapped a protective cape, discarding previously cut hairs. He fastened the cape around Mick’s neck.

“How would you like your hair cut?” asked the student.

“Wait a minute,” said the lecturer. “Start with introductions. It builds good rapport with the customer.”

The student adopted a professional smile. Already, Mick didn’t like him. He detested insincerity.

“Hello, I’m…”

He said something with an M which Mick couldn’t understand; not that he cared either, as he had to get to his next show straight after his hair cut.

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 2 part 14

For the last month, Wil had rented a house for himself and his crew, trying to remain inconspicuous. He had them dress in plain clothes so as not to intimidate the local suburbanites. For the most part, they enjoyed blending in with the locals, wearing the strange attire. Wil wanted them to adapt to the local earth culture. They did so, but to keep them on the premises only led to restlessness. Fights had broken out twice among the criminals, which he stemmed, but as it stood, he retained a tentative control of his crew. He feared to make the firs step into a life of crime, knowing he would cross a line from which he could never return. In truth, he only delayed the inevitable.

He ensured they trained at their arts to distract themselves. Multi-Beast watched the animal channel and poured through books at the local library to familiarise himself with earth’s animals. He currently watched a programme about wild horses. Grappler grew bored, drinking yet again, against Wil’s wishes. The alien changed the channel. When Multi attempted to change it back again, Grappler withdrew the remote. Wil hoped not to intervene. Fortunately, as Grappler drew his hand back, Odin sent out his whip, holding the man fast by the wrist.

Multi, thinking the confrontation at an end, reached for the dropped remote. Odin’s other whip cracked; it’s metal tip shattering the small electronic device.

“No one can watch it,” said the big man. “Go and train for awhile.”

The two men fumed, but complied, rising from the lounge.

“When are we going to do something?” Odin said.

Wil imagined this was how Meissner maintained control over his men. He had to lead them to money and infamy constantly or risk a rebellion. In a one to one confrontation he could best any one of them, but what if they all turned on him? If he didn’t make a move now, he would risk losing them. How did Meissner start his empire?

“We’re going to go to the first large bank we can find and rob it,” said Wil.

“What do we need to rob a bank for? We can take anything we want.”

“He’s right,” called Javelin from the kitchen entrance. “You said there’s no one on this planet that can stand up to us… except you.”

“We’re only going to make a statement,” said Wil. “It let’s our opposition know that we are the true power.”

“Your police will come,” said Odin.

“That’s the point. The media will come to publicise our quashing of the police. However, the first few times, the film will be edited to show how the police got the better of us because of their superior training, and that we had to break and run for another day.”

“Well then, we wouldn’t have made our point.”

“Then we make it again and again. Sooner or later, film will slip through to the public of what’s really going on. Bear in mind, Odin, the police of this country have an egotism which makes them desperate for the public to see them as heroes. They will answer the call each time in greater force than before.”

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 2 part 13

The triplane banked hard to the right, throttling faster after two biplanes, each coloured green with squarish noses. Banking into a dive, the triplane fired a short burst. A trail of black smoke trailed the aircraft to earth as the Fokker corkscrewed behind the tail of the other plane. It too went down in a tendril of smoke; both in less than a minute.

Pat watched the scene, mesmerised. Although moving like film, the dogfight resembled a work of art, so vivid, yet not quite photographic.

The dots in the distance turned. Pat thought to alert the triplane pilot, but instead, chose to watch how the battle played out. The Fokker pilot remained oblivious as the other planes flew wide and came in behind him. Two remained aloft in reserve as two dived. Another two throttled in behind.

No evasive move eventuated on the German’s part until the rounds zipped past his fuselage; then he did the unthinkable. The Fokker turned a full 180 degrees and fired into its foe.

“No one can do that,” Pat gasped.

Attacking planes veered aside to evade the retaliatory burst. Like buzzing mosquitoes, the other green planes swarmed around the triplane. Each received short bursts of fire from the German’s guns. He continued to make unnerving turns, putting the English planes on the defensive instead of attacking. Ten minutes later, it eventually ended with the brave German making a listless dive to earth.

In the seconds thereafter, Pat watched the English planes fall into formation. Although six still flew, they all had holes in their canvas skins.

Pat ended the scene. Curiosity compelled him to turn on his computer and look up who could have flown the black triplane. A concentrated search yielded a young ace by the name of Werner Voss, dying at the age of 20. In his final battle he took on eight SE5A fighters… described, just as Pat witnessed it.

He switched off the computer and attempted to go back to sleep, but sleep never came as he still couldn’t believe his new ability. When his eyelids finally grew heavy, his alarm clock sounded.


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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 2 part 12

In the last moments as he closed his eyes, he thought he saw the tattoos of his arm shift. Too tired to care about the dream, he surrendered to sleep. The dream continued. His hair appeared different as if freshly cut; perhaps a time in the future. As he stared down, the tattoos came to life at his behest, even changing shape and hue from violent, bitter themes to joyous ones.

The tattoos of his left arm collapsed into a black smudge and rearranged itself into a bullock team. Its driver cracked a long whip, spurring the team, carrying a massive log, to rumble off his arm and trudge in a steady arc above his head.

Can I make them do that? he wondered. What else can they do?

Birds chirped beneath his chin. A miniature flock rose and flew above the bullock team. The ceiling above the scene didn’t look right. Ink from his body merged into clouds and floated above the birds and the bullocks, blotting out the ceiling and the light bulb.

It needs colour. 

Faded grey and tan shaded the wagon. The diver wore a bone upturned hat and a faded green shirt. Birds remained black as the sky darkened. Clouds merged into each other and rumbled. Pat jolted at the crack of thunder, and witnessed a bolt of lightning descend from the clouds’ core. Rain descended. What seemed like a fine mist to him, attacked the driver like a white sheet. The man slipped on a leather coat and buttoned it against the wind.

Only then, did Pat realise he hadn’t actually slept as he watched. A film of water covered his face and blankets as if he slept in a mist. He laughed. The rain teemed harder. Moments later, puddles formed, and the bullocks lowed as they strained to pull their load through the mud. Waters rose, first to the driver’s knees then to his waist.

This is getting out of hand. 

As they swelled about his chin, Pat willed a better outcome. Team and driver changed shape to become a tall masted clipper, rising and descending on huge crested waves.

Stop! Pat mentally commanded.

The scene disappeared, and a glance at the tattoos on his body, revealed they had returned to normal. A thought occurred to him; if he could create a blissful scene, could he also create something more malevolent?

Droning permeated his consciousness before he became aware of several dots in a distant sky. He saw the sun, peering through a gap between a few white clouds. Another loud engine filled the room. A black Fokker triplane flew from the direction of the bedroom door. It had a moustached face painted on the nose. It’s pilot looked at him and smiled, a fresh faced youth; no more than twenty. Waving, the pilot then waggled the wings of the aircraft as he passed.

The plane’s engine sounded louder and climbed after the dots just below the clouds. Pat knew he could control the action, but refused; instead waiting to see the outcome, wondering if he witnessed a page from history.

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THE SENSATIONAL SIX – Chapter 2 part 11

Nick dug out foundations within the stone filled earth with no more effort than digging in sand. He now only had to set the uprising girders in place. Setting his hands to the top girder from the nearest stack, he picked it up and carried it off in one hand. No one but a few children watched him anymore. They had gotten used to his routine feats of strength. Upending the girder in both hands, he rammed it into one of the foundation holes. Using a level, he placed it against the steel length as he kicked boulders the size of medium dogs into the hole. Between thumb and forefinger, he pounded the rocks until they formed a crushed base, enough to anchor the girder in an upright position; that was one. By midday, he’d have the lot done for a small block of flats. By the end of the day, he would pour cement into each hole from a vat carried on his back.

He smiled, happy at how fast his work progressed. Even by hand, he got results quicker than he would have, had he hired a team of workers to use machinery. Tomorrow, he could have the day off to rest as the cement set; not that he would rest. He would more than likely help with the meagre farms or do maintenance work in the houses. No doubt, his day sometime would also consist of playing soccer with the children.

He turned his head to the heavens.

Thank you, Lord. Life is good. 

At the same time, a grim thought sobred him; the Lord had something challenging planned for him; an ordeal sometime in the future. Even with his strength, he wondered if he would rise to the task. His constant prayer became one that he would.


Pat otherwise known as “Tat,” was born on a remote Samoan island. He grew up for a time in New Zealand, before moving to the largest of the Pacific isles; Australia. A tall man and heavy set, his upper body had a covering of tattoos. In his formative years and beyond, he was first the recipient of violence, then the protagonist. Over the years, he accumulated more tattoos, until the day of his salvation.

Late one night, after reading his Bible, he stared at the markings on his skin and sighed. What he once wore as a badge to show the world he could take pain, now became a curse. He ventured into his bedroom to change for bed. His kindly face exhibited intense brown eyes and a mop of tightly curled hair. Alas, his frame had markings front and back. He put on a t-shirt to cover the bulk of the tattoos, yet his arms still displayed some of the inked art works.

“I can’t take them off, Lord,” he whispered. “How can I use them to glorify you?”

No answer came to him, but then he didn’t expect one. He resigned himself to lying down on his bed, prepared to make the all too short slumber for another day as a labourer.

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