We were exploring the caves together that day, it was just a day hike. We were down in Baja for a two-week vacation. She saw it behind a rock, glinting out from under some loose soil. She’s probably right, the knife is made for a woman to wield. She says the knife in the hands of a man would mean the last Murripiqua time had come, and then the power inversion would happen. We’d live at the whim of the spiders, bugs, centipedes, et cetera. Not just us, but all mankind. I know James and the Giant Peach was cute and all, but I get the sense it would be much, much worse than that. She says the knife chose her. Whatever. It’s not that big a deal. I love her.
She keeps the knife in her old violin case under the loft stairs.
One superhero in a world such as ours doesn’t change much. If there were two, and one was evil and the other good, well, I guess they would have to fight. But that doesn’t seem to be the situation here. As far as I can tell, there’s just the one knife.
She told me after that first day in Mexico that she had pretty much decided not to use the knife for personal gain. She said the knife only worked with her because she was pure of heart. I thought that was fine at the time. I still pretty much agree. Only I thought maybe it wouldn’t hurt anything if we started a personal security company or something. She said any profit derived from the knife would lead to greed, which would lead to corruption, which could cause the Baranique Tharquors to enter our dimension. Her tone implied that this would be a bad thing. Then she asked me to go get her a venti latte and a scone down the street, which I did. Even though it was raining.
I’ve asked her why she wouldn’t just take the knife to the Middle East and sort everything out there. Or Africa, since after listening to NPR it’s pretty clear that there’s lots of bad stuff going on in Africa. She says she doesn’t really know anyone in those places, that it’s all really complicated, the solution isn’t clear and anyway everyone has to fulfill his or her own personal destiny. I’m not sure if she’s slacking or not, but it sort of sounds like she’s slacking. She likes her job in the Home section, she likes going into other people’s apartments and talking to them about where they got their couch and their picture of Marat dying and stuff like that. I don’t think she’s going to go to the Middle East. It took like heaven and earth to get her to go to Mexico in the first place.
You should see what happens when she takes the knife out and holds it. It’s really, really cool. Her hair becomes fire, for starters. And her clothes become this golden armor. And her eyes glow this pure turquoise blue. And these wild red and silver wings come out of her back and fill up the whole room. It’s really intense. I get a suntan just standing near her. I’m not kidding, it’s like having my own personal tanning salon. But the neighbors complain about the loud Indian-like choruses. Plus afterwards she’s really hungry and then she sleeps through most of the next day, which means I have to be really quiet. No music, no TV, no shoes in the apartment.
We don’t have a lot of friends anymore. We used to hang out with Ted and Lisa, but then my girlfriend said I was being too flirtatious with Lisa. I didn’t think I was being flirtatious. Ted is a really good friend and I’ve always been pretty monogamous. But that didn’t matter. I doubt if she would have sent Lisa and me down into the lava-pits of Sharrida, she was probably kidding, but sometimes it’s better to err on the side of caution. We just sort of stopped calling them.
In other ways, there are pluses and minuses. She says I’m a lot better in bed, that I give more, which I guess is true. On the other hand, well, she used to be a lot more adventurous herself. Our sex life used to be a bit more of a two-way street, if you know what I mean. I’d push her a bit on this, but there’s always the violin case under the stairs.
You know, when I think about it, I’m not sure how she’d stand up against a howitzer or an atomic bomb. I know in comic books the superheroes are pretty invulnerable, and she certainly looks invulnerable. But you never know. The Aztecs didn’t have howitzers.
She says she could fall into the heart of a volcano, swim through the earth, and come out the other side. I’m thinking maybe. She can fly, I’ll give her that. But you can shoot down a Bell helicopter with a pistol.
Otherwise, things are pretty normal. For a while I was bugging her to go on TV, get the word out, impress everyone she knew in high school, the whole shebang, but she’s really hesitant about things like that. I tell her we’ll get a chance to meet Katie Couric and Ann Curry. She asks who Ann Curry is and I say, “You know, that sort of cute Asian- American woman who helps with news and stuff.” That’s when her eyes get narrow and she mentions the lava-pits of Sharrida again.
Actually, a lot of things come up over and over, the sort of stuff that makes your head ache. She gets really anxious and nervous about someone trying to steal the knife. She’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I have to talk her down. I say, “Who would steal it?” She won’t let us get a cleaning lady, because she’s so worried about the knife winding up in the wrong hands. She has nightmares about terrorists finding it. I say if she’s worried, we should tell the authorities about the knife. Then the US government would protect us. She says anyone powerful who found out about the knife would want to use it to their own ends. She says absolute power corrupts absolutely. I tell her no duh, I went to high school too. There’s a bit of an awkward silence. Then, after a while, when it becomes clear that she’s not going to clear the table, I get up, wash the dishes, and take the laundry down to the basement.
She’s put on some weight. Not much, but enough to notice.