The Butterfly Effect


I’m waking up in bed next to a girlfriend I lived with 20 years ago!

Having not seen her since, I’m taken aback to discover that she hasn’t aged. I lift the covers. Nope, not at all.

I hear a commotion from somewhere outside. This is not our old bedroom. I don’t recognize this room. The commotion grows louder, voices, cars pulling up, laughter. I quietly slip out of bed and go to the window. There’s a lawn outside, and on the sidewalk in front of the house a phalanx of media are assembling.

“Shit!” yells Inez suddenly up from the bed. “They found out! They know I’m Butterfly!”

Okay. That’s more than I know.

Inez jumps into the closet and starts putting clothes on. The doorbell rings.

“Don’t answer that!” Inez yells from the closet.

“Uh… Should I be getting dressed?” I ask, trying to grasp some notion of what’s happening.

Inez comes out dressed in a very unusual outfit. “Don’t worry,” she assures me through a black mask, “I’ll make sure they know you had no part in this!”

“What are you going to do?”

“Don’t worry,” she says again, adjusting her – wings? “I’ll get in touch with you as soon as it’s safe, but I won’t tell you where I’m hiding so you really won’t know, okay?”

“Why are you going to hide?”

Sirens get closer.

“Because women in prison is not as fun as it sounds to men,” she says in a familiar sarcastic tone. She kisses me passionately. “Goodbye, baby!”

Inez opens the window as high as it will go, kicks out the screen and backs up. Then she runs forward launching herself outside where her wings pop open, fluttering like a giant butterfly! Cameras click wildly. The crowd draws a breath.

She ascends into the sky…

Police cars squeal to a stop, cops leaping out to shoot at her! I desperately search for pants, and once they’re on I’m out the front door – confronted by a SWAT team that orders me down!

In the air Inez is zigzagging just like a butterfly, an impossible target. But now her wings are whipping faster. An incredible wind is coming up.

Too much debris is in the air for the cops to take shots clearly. They cover their faces as wind whirls over them.

As her wings beat ever faster Inez stabilizes in the air to a stationary position, and then the power of her wind blows people and equipment down the street, flipping media vans and police cars.

I go back in the house for safety.

Once she’s gone, the authorities regain composure and search the house. They discover a DVD that Inez made in the event of her arrest.

They take me downtown for questioning. In the course of their inquisition I’m able to piece together what this version of my ex-girlfriend was up to. A lot of detail was apparently on that DVD.

She has a former student from a decade ago, a young man alone in the world and deteriorating from terminal cancer.

He presented Inez with a special gift: a patent and prototype wings and accessories.

This was his creation as a doctoral engineering candidate.  It’s his hope that she will profit from them when they are eventually mass produced.

But crime was making learning impossible at her school, getting steadily worse as promising kids were lured astray by money, sex and drugs lurking just outside, and apparently too insignificant for the police, who had “bigger fish to fry.”

Inez Coconata struck back by training herself to use the inventions bequeathed to her to push back on the pushers and exploiters of children.

She took on gangs by attacking their hangouts, intimidated dealers by showing up at their homes, and dive-bombed gangsta vehicles. Bewildered thugs weren’t sure what to make of the sneak attacks. Broken bones and bruised bodies piled up as suspicious activity around school toned down.

She became legendary until things went bad one night.

A gang member got killed after she took out his tires in pursuit. The body was thrown through the windshield onto the street, after he ran into a patrol car that hit an officer standing on the sidewalk.

Public outcry demands that the vigilante who flew from the scene be brought down.

Back at “our” place I turn on the TV to hear…

“…public’s cooperation in tracking down the woman who so far has killed one man and put three officers in the hospital this morning. If you do spot her, do not approach her but call police immediately. The fugitive Inez Coconata, AKA Butterfly, has acute aerial vision goggles, a wingspan of 15 feet, can fly as high as 14,000 feet with forward speed up to 140 mph. Those wings can  generate 360° winds up to 110 mph from a stationary position. She has used wing suction to pull people into the sky, and is rumored to have an hypnotic stare that paralyzes temporarily. In her wings’ air suction mode she can make local breathing difficult. Her body suit gives her high tolerance for sudden pressure and temperature changes without loss of consciousness. Be on the lookout.”

Should she turn herself in?

If she’s the Inez I knew, she’ll feel awful about that gangster’s death.

But with everything to lose, she’ll probably go ahead and whip a little more gangster ass before surrendering the chance to save her kids.




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